Smart meter problems & how to fix them

Smart meters provide consumers with real time information on their energy use, and are designed to allow people to better manage their energy output, whilst saving money and cutting emissions.

Many energy suppliers have started offering smart meter installations for customers, however the complete rollout, initially planned for 2020, has been stalled with suppliers now required to roll out smart meters to all their domestic customers by June 2021.

Along with the delay in the rollout, smart meters have recently been subject to bad press with those against them attacking the predicted savings that the meter can generate. Read on to find out the problem with smart meters and whether it's still worth getting one.

What's the problem with smart meters?

Smart metering is known to bring immediate benefits to consumers in the form of tracking energy usage, receiving more accurate readings and making savings. But as with all good things, there are drawbacks associated with having a smart meter.

Previous reports of failing functionality, such as issues with real time data displays, and automatic readings, are results of some suppliers not being up to date with new technology. These glitches should be rectified inline with the national roll out, however speak to your current, or new, supplier on their current technology status.

Another issues you may come across could be down to where you live. As smart meters use mobile network connections to send constant automatic updates between the meter and supplier, if you're in a poor signal area you might have trouble with your smart meter not being as responsive as you'd like. Positively, smart metering communications coverage will reach over 99% of households by the end of 2020.

If there are any technical, commercial, or communicative reasons you shouldn't have a smart meter installed then your energy supplier should not offer one to you. You can always follow up with your supplier to find out when you will become eligible.

Aside from the above, other issues regularly involve not changing habits when the new meter is installed and believing it will do all the hard work. Despite news that smart meters bring energy savings and cheaper bills, many consumers have reported the complete opposite. An online survey of Great British energy customers, carried out by Which, showed 34% of smart meter owners saw a reduction in their energy usage, whilst 20% of smart meter owners saw their increase. The remainder of those surveyed hadn't reported a change in their energy usage since moving to a smart meter.

This can be the direct result of still using energy as before and not making any lifestyle changes. Having up-to-date energy usage is only useful if it is then being acted upon.

When will the smart meter roll out be completed?

As of March 2020 there were 21.5 million smart meters in homes and small businesses in the UK with nearly 1 million installed in the first few months of 2020.

The rollout has been hit with a number of issues, mainly those with existing technology, pushing back the deadline from 2020 to 2024. Amidst the coronavirus outbreak, energy suppliers were required to stop all installations, which has further pushed back the deadline for completion to 2025.

Is it worth getting a smart meter?

Don't let the above put you off getting a smart meter. Once you're on board with smart metering, the up to date energy readings will allow you to understand where you can make immediate reductions in bills, and you can track which appliances are using the most energy.

Not only that, but at a national level, smart meters are helping to create a more energy efficient future, helping both the environment and your budget, at the same time.

This, along with an end to estimated billing, will also help you make better decisions when it comes to >switching energy and choosing the best deal for you.

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